Sermon Illustrations

The Pellicano is the world's most unwanted ship. Since 1986 she has been the hobo of the high seas. No one wants her. Sri Lanka doesn't. Bermuda doesn't. The Dominican Republic turned her away. So did the Netherlands, the Antilles, and Honduras.

The problem is not the boat. Though Rusty and Barnacled, the 466-foot freighter is seaworthy.

The problem is not the ownership. The owners have kept the license current and paid the taxes.

The problem is not the crew. They may feel unwanted, but they are efficient.

Then what is the problem? What is the reason for years of rejections? Waved away Sri Lanka. Turned away in Indonesia. Rejected in Haiti. Why is the Pellicano the most unwanted ship in the world?

Simple. She is full of trash. 15,000 tons of trash. Orange peelings. Beer bottles. Newspapers. Half-eaten hotdogs. Trash. The trash of Philadelphia's long summer of 1986 that's when the municipal workers went on strike. That's when the trash piled higher and higher. That's when Georgia refused it, and New York declined it. No one wanted Philadelphia's trash.

That's when the Pellicano entered the picture. The owners thought that they would turn a quick penny by transporting the rubbish. The trash was burned, and the ashes were dumped into the belly of the boat. But no one would take it. Initially it was too much. Eventually, it was too old. Who wants potentially toxic trash?

The plight of the Pellicano is proof. Trash-filled ships find few friends. The plight of the Pellicano is also a parable. Trash filled hearts don't fare any better. I wonder if you can relate to the Pellicano? Are you unwanted at the dock? Drifting farther from friends and family? If so you might check your heart for garbage. Who wants to offer dock space to a smelly heart?

Life has a way of unloading her rubbish on our decks. Your husband works too much. Your wife gripes too much. Your boss expects too much. Your kid's wine too much. The result? Trash. Load after load of anger. Guilt. Pessimism. Bitterness. Bigotry. Anxiety. Deceit. Impatience. It all piles up.

Trash affects us.

Today's jealousy is tomorrow's temper tantrum.

Today's bigotry is tomorrow's hate crime.

Today's anger is tomorrow's abuse.

Today's lust is tomorrow's adultery.

Today's greed is tomorrow's embezzlement.

Today's guilt is tomorrow's fear.

Today's thoughts are tomorrow's actions.

Max Lucado, A Love Worth Giving: Living in the Overflow of God's Love. Word Publishing Group, 2002, page 87-89.

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